Russiagate Is Devolving Into An Effort To Stigmatize Dissent

Authored by James Carden via,

An amicus brief to a lawsuit filed against Roger Stone and the Trump campaign raises troubling questions over the right to political speech.


Of all the various twists and turns of the year-and-a-half-long national drama known as #Russiagate, the effort to marginalize and stigmatize dissent from the consensus Russia-Trump narrative, particularly by former intelligence and national-security officials and operatives, is among the more alarming.

An invasion-of-privacy lawsuit, filed in July 2017 by a former DNC official and two Democratic donors, alleges that they suffered “significant distress and anxiety and will require lifelong vigilance and expense” because their personal information was exposed as a result of the e-mail hack of the DNC, which, the suit claims, was part of a conspiracy between Roger Stone and the Trump campaign.

According to a report in The New York Times published at the time of the suit’s filing, “Mr. Trump and his political advisers, including Mr. Stone, have repeatedly denied colluding with Russia, and the 44-page complaint, filed on Wednesday in the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, does not contain any hard evidence that his campaign did.” (Emphasis added.)

In a new development, in early December, 14 former high-ranking US intelligence and national-security officials, including former deputy secretary of state William Burns; former CIA director John Brennan; former director of national intelligence James Clapper; and former ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul (a longtime proponent of democracy promotion, which presumably includes free speech), filed an amicus brief as part of the lawsuit.

The amicus brief purports to explain to the court how Russia deploys “active measures” that seek “to undermine confidence in democratic leaders and institutions; sow discord between the United States and its allies; discredit candidates for office perceived as hostile to the Kremlin; influence public opinion against U.S. military, economic and political programs; and create distrust or confusion over sources of information.”

The former officials portray the amicus brief as an offering of neutral (“Amici submit this brief on behalf of neither party”) expertise (“to offer the Court their broad perspective, informed by careers spent working inside the U.S. government”).

The brief claims that Putin’s Russia has not only “actively spread disinformation online in order to exploit racial, cultural and political divisions across the country” but also “conducted cyber espionage operations…to undermine faith in the U.S. democratic process and, in the general election, influence the results against Secretary Hillary Clinton.”

Much of this has been said before. But where the briefers branch off into new territory is in their attempt to characterize journalism and political speech with which they disagree as acts of subversion on behalf of a foreign power.

According to the 14 former officials, Russia’s active-measure campaign relies “on intermediaries or ‘cut outs’ inside a country,” which are rather broadly defined as “political organizers and activists, academics, journalists, web operators, shell companies, nationalists and militant groups, and prominent pro-Russian businessmen.”

Such “intermediaries” can range from “the unwitting accomplice who is manipulated to act in what he believes is his best interest, to the ideological or economic ally who broadly shares Russian interests, to the knowing agent of influence who is recruited or coerced to directly advance Russian operations and objectives.”

In other words, a Russian “cut out” (or fifth columnist) can be defined as those “activists, academics, journalists, [or] web operators” who dissent from the shared ideology of the 14 signatories of the amicus brief.

In a recent essay for the London Review of Books, the historian Jackson Lears observed that “the religion of the Russian hack depends not on evidence but on ex cathedra pronouncements on the part of authoritative institutions and their overlords.” And this amicus brief is one such pronouncement.

In spite of the brief’s high-flown language (“The threat posed to our democracy by Russian active measures campaigns is serious, ongoing and will require vigilance on the part of the U.S. government and people”), it is little more than yet another effort to stigmatize political speech that questions the necessity of demonizing Russia—political speech, in other words, with which these former high-ranking intelligence and national-security officials surely disagree.

Professor Lears also observed that as regards Russiagate, “In its capacity to exclude dissent, it is like no other formation of mass opinion in my adult life, though it recalls a few dim childhood memories of anti-communist hysteria during the early 1950s.”

That is only too true; indeed, as of this writing, the Russia-Trump collusion narrative is fast devolving into an effort to stigmatize and marginalize expressions of dissent, with the overarching aim of short-circuiting and stifling debate over US-Russia policy.


jeff montanye Luc X. Ifer Sat, 12/30/2017 - 05:54 Permalink

indeed. not sure it's one generation (twenty years) but about a short two, from carl sagan in '79 to "the (seeming) triumph of the neocons" now.

but to your point, for instance: “In its capacity to exclude dissent, it is like no other formation of mass opinion in my adult life, though it recalls a few dim childhood memories of anti-communist hysteria during the early 1950s.” really? like no other in its capacity to exclude dissent? well how about the use of "anti-semitism" to exclude "anti-zionism" from polite society? hmmm?

and get this: the real subversion of the u.s. by a foreign power is that done by israel whose agents in aipac and the cia, etc. long ago interviewed, vetted and made assets of the signatories of the amicus brief. and don't have to even file as agents of a foreign power (last president to ask was jfk; another hmmm?). that they probably missed an orange haired reality tv involved casino owner is the source of our undying gratitude.

In reply to by Luc X. Ifer

Endgame Napoleon Ignatius Sun, 12/31/2017 - 09:29 Permalink

What I want to know is why they think Russians are able to   affect American elections in any significant way, regardless of whether or not they are trying? People who believe this think Deplorables are rats on a treadmill who did not arrive at their political opinions via experience, but entirely though manipulation. 

From a psychological standpoint, it would make sense if Russians were resentful about the break up of their country into smaller units. That does not mean they are projecting that resentment on the USA by stoking division here. The old USSR was just composed of many factional groups, like the US, and even before 1989, one of my professors predicted it would divide due to all these different groups. 

But the US was no more to blame for their breakup than they are for division in America; the divisions spring from internal issues.

The real reasons for division in the USA are not a problem for pampered, connected-up MSM reporters, making literally millions for chatting on TV.

When your $10 to $12-per-hour pay barely stretches across all of your bills, including rent that takes more than half of your earned-only income, you have no choice to but to be concerned.

When jumping through all the hoops to work there or to interview there, or when you’ve been told by recruiters or heard about reverse-racism hiring / retention practices from minorites no less across many workplaces, it is a different story. 

I have seen 80 to 90% majority-minority hires in the following large-scale businesses in a city with a 15% minority population: 

  1. A large government agency that processes welfare cases for adults; 
  2. A large government agency that processes welfare cases for children; 
  3. A large-scale payment-processing corporation;
  4. A corporation that handles mobile phone insurance; 
  5. Mobile service provider 1;
  6. Mobile service provider 2;
  7. Mobile service provider 3;
  8. A huge pharma company with a government contract.

In some of these cases, in addition to a college degree and a lot of work experience, I had other state-requires certifications relevant to the job, but was told I was 

“not a culture fit.”

I was not a culture fit because my skin was white. 

And look: I spent most of my life a progressive; I am not a racist by any means and am not impolite to minorities.

In addition to seeing not just me, but multiple white people from my government job not make it to civil servant status in that bully den of reverse racism, I have seen a lot of underhanded stuff happen to others when minorities play the race card.

I have seen multiple white people who aced tests for government jobs — making 100% — but never got one.

Take the example of one of the least racist people I have met, a Northerner who came to the South and chose to live in an area full of minorities without the slightest degree of antipathy towards them. A minority woman accused this person of racism when she did not want to share a split commission on a sale that her colleague mostly handled. Even though that was the commission arrangement at this workplace, she got this non-racist person fired, using Fake racism as a weapon.

Before the Trump election, I heard caller after caller on C-SPAN, describing the similar workplace scenarios, where minorities hire and retain mostly other minorities, calling it “diversity.”

In one of my temp jobs, a female / minority manager paraded 10 permanent hires out 187 training temps around the training rooms, jokingly saying 

We need a diversity panel.”


All the permanent hires were moms. All the permanent hires were Black [except one]. I would get fired, immediately, for saying what that Black, female manager said, but then, I would get fired for 5 minutes of absenteeism in the many jobs where gangs of moms — Black and white — take off frequent whole mornings, whole afternoons, whole days and whole weeks beyond PTO and pregnancy leaves, never getting fired except in one case where a mom manager was absentee all day / everyday for YEARS. 

In the flood of 2016 election year calls about mass immigration on C-SPAN, one older man sounded bewildered, saying his grandson could not get a job, long after graduating. Most places he applied to were mostly staffed overwhelmingly by Hispanics. Trying to be nice about it, like white Americans often do, he said they must be hiring their friends and family.

Why do we sugarcoat it with visions of babies, families and loyalty to friends, when, if whites do that, it is regarded as nepotism at best and racism at worst? 

In 2016, people finally stopped sugarcoating it. 

People are simply tired of this. It causes financial and other stress and damage. Underemployed Americans are not even slightly impressed when latte-sipping economic elites claim the moral high ground on race without sacrificing their livelihoods.

Step down from your jobs, white social-justice warriors. Give your job to a minority.

All the jobs should go to groups of race-loyal minorities to create diversity, according to their Fake theory, which is really designed to make economic elites look morally superior in a way that is cheap to them. 

It is not cheap to the non minorities who have to finance a full range of bills on low pay. When they lose out on jobs, where a 15% minority group holds 80% of the positions, it means a loss of shelter and food, especially in the case of childless, single people who have zero unearned income from spouses or from welfare and $6,444 child tax credits for womb productivity.

Try navigating the job world, seeing both the jobs with 80% blacks or other minorities AND the jobs with 98% moms, back watching and leaving work all the time, hiring and retaining almost all fellow moms.

It must be even more exasperating when you compete with illegal aliens, with incomes boosted by welfare that covers rent and groceries and child tax credits up to $6,444. They do not need higher pay when traceable income for a male breadwinner falls below the earned-income limit for welfare. They can work cheaply due to this unearned income from government for US-born kids, as can many moms.

Many American men face this situation, and their reason for objecting to it is not, in most cases, ingrained racism. It is a roof over their heads and food that they must pay for themselves, while people who came here illegally get it for free and take their jobs. 

This is the reason so many Americans voted for Trump, trying to vote against this corrupt, rigged system, NOT Russian ads. The MSM will not address any of these economic issues because they are owned by corporations that, in many cases, pay most workers a pittance and hire via temp agencies, constantly churning part time and high-turnover workers. More and more, 1099-gig work is the standard — piecework — that puts a twice-as-high SS tax burden on the employee and frees the company from SS tax for employees. 

Tax revenue is down. 

MSM say that unemployment is down! 

They say whatever their owners tell them to say, as would we if someone paid us millions to do it. But Americans stopped listening to that in 2016, hoping they were not being jerked around by another Establishnent candidate, and they started voting based on their workplace experiences, not based on FB ads by Russians or anyone else.  

Looks like some voters have decided to turn to the third branch of government, seeing that the Swamp Congress is as bought and paid for as the Fake News Media.…



In reply to by Ignatius

Freddie Pure Evil Fri, 12/29/2017 - 22:47 Permalink

They want to bankrupt Flynn, Manafort and Roger Stone. Brennan, Clapper, et al should be up for treason. When can we start suing corrupt govt officials like Jarret, Lois Lerner, Strozk, Page, and all the other FBI criminals?

In reply to by Pure Evil

RevIdahoSpud3 caconhma Sat, 12/30/2017 - 13:23 Permalink

Even if it was the only thing or it was one thing...he kept the nastiest person alive...killary... from holding office. That was good for me. Beyond that, what have any of the zionist's done for you, ever?? If you call getting a few fiat dollars for posting shit on various websites, and you call that something then look into a mirror. There before you is a pathetic loser.

In reply to by caconhma

Endgame Napoleon joeyman9 Sun, 12/31/2017 - 10:47 Permalink

He did not lower my taxes in any significant way as a single, childless citizen, with no unearned income from a spouse, an ex spouse or welfare and child tax credits between $3,468 and $6,444.

In fact, his expansion of the child tax credit made the openly discriminatory job scene, where many workplaces with 98% childbearing-age-mom staffs are “voted best for working moms” even worse for people like me. The more mom-themed monthly welfare and tax welfare they get for working part time to stay below the earned-income limit for welfare, the more the workplaces feature a thicket of nearly 100% moms, back watching during vast amounts of excused absenteeism and hiring / retaining mostly moms. 

If I go back in self employment, my taxes still will only be negligibly lower. It is the twice-as-high SS tax — 15.3%, not the 7.65% paid by employees — that hurts most self employed people who do not have enough net income to be helped much by the income tax cuts for the pass throughs. 

I agree with you on the TPP, although we are not yet seeing a return of manufacturing jobs. The TPP had a lot to do with counterfeiting—the stealing and duplicating of American products designs—an issue that affects Americans who manufacture in foreign countries, using cheap, global labor. It also had a lot to do with imposing a universal system of trade law, which seemed to supersede US law. Which is scary to those who care about national sovereignty.

Trump did deliver on a few Deplorable issues, mostly using verbal means. Most candidates have not and could not do this. 

  1. During the campaign, Trump hammered the illegal immigration issue hard enough to reduce the presence of things like reverse racism in jobs and stores full of illegal alien moms, using EBT cards to purchase heaping baskets of food, while you — a citizen — take items out of your almost empty cart. Around here, during the campaign, that seemed less ubiquitous, although it will come back after the DACA amnesty and, really, seems to be coming back already. 
  2. There have not been as many mass murders by radical Islamic terrorists since Trump  told them in no uncertain terms that he was going find out where the hate originated from. 
  3. Trump signed an executive order that bans Swampians from accepting money from foreigners who have been involved in evil human rights violations, like human trafficking and murdering journalists. 





In reply to by joeyman9

cesar Freddie Fri, 12/29/2017 - 23:31 Permalink

That's what its all about. Anyone who dissents from the Official Russophobia line will be attacked legally and will spend so much money defending themselves that they will be intimidated into silence.  Anyone who disagrees with US security services propaganda is a Russian agent. Pure fascists.

In reply to by Freddie

A Sentinel Freddie Sat, 12/30/2017 - 07:18 Permalink

Big trump guys have been saying that he’s been working behind the scenes, playing the fool as he outflanks the enemy (the enemies of us all, the international socialist aka communist cabal that is fronted be nast Hilary.)

Well, honestly I didn’t put much stock in that and I’m still not confident.... but there’s something brewing around Hilary...

In reply to by Freddie

chubbar Billy the Poet Fri, 12/29/2017 - 22:29 Permalink

Not only no forgeries, which means the emails told the truth about what these morons were doing, but also it's been demonstrated that the emails could only have been downloaded to a thumb drive because of the speeds they were transmitted. Why these fucking dimwits keep overlooking that inconvenient truth is anyone's guess, likely because it doesn't dovetail with their scenario of a Russian hack. This lawsuit goes nowhere but is being used to slowdown and divert attention away from the crimes of the DNC, et al.

It burns me that Brennan and Clapper, those two fucking traitorous cunts, filed a brief supporting this bullshit. Those 2 assholes were running the illegal spy operation against Trump during his campaign.

In reply to by Billy the Poet

A Sentinel chubbar Sat, 12/30/2017 - 07:22 Permalink

It would be AWESOME if there was something to the rumor that Assange was going to exchange some hard, undeniable evidence in exchange for a pardon or whatever.

The fifth column will kill him, or give it their best, because he really screwed them and he was a lefty so he’s worse than us — I think it’s the same as when a black man is erudite or successful and he’s hated for it.

 I digress...

but it would be freaking awesome.

In reply to by chubbar

redmudhooch new game Sat, 12/30/2017 - 16:39 Permalink

Yet theres still no mention of Israeli "meddling" and they own all MSM in this country, America.

All of the Israeli propaganda prostitutes need to be registered foreign agents too, they interfere with every election in the USA and these knuckleheads are still whining about Russia.

I hope the politicians throwing this tantrum realize how insane and irresponsible it makes them look. I don't guess they care though.

No mention of the harm done to America by all the cheating, lying, corruption and whining either..Awesome

Keep it up DC, you're all digging your own graves with this nonsense. She lost, get over it, or at least whine about the real (((meddlers))) too, not just Russia.

In reply to by new game

Boxed Merlot chubbar Sat, 12/30/2017 - 14:00 Permalink

...It burns me that Brennan and Clapper,...filed a brief supporting this...

Being lifelong government "professionals" with a "perspective" they feel is needed to be aired is pretty amusing. You're correct in their being no forgeries in the leaked information is a clue to what's going on here and their voicing these concerns now, which is now couched in the terminology of "leaks".

Remember, the greatest leak of the past year is the 35 year old "secret" agreement between Saudi Arabia, Israel and the USA. If that "agreement" was to be published even 30 years ago, we would be living in a considerably different environment, I believe.

How is it that particular agreement is now being allowed to "expire", i.e. come to the light of day, unless a subsequent "secret" agreement has already been secured to replace it?

C'mon folks, just give us the particulars and let us do what's right for ourselves.


In reply to by chubbar

Bubba Rum Das Normalcy Bias Fri, 12/29/2017 - 22:56 Permalink

All it will take to shoot this Amicus Brief down, is evidence of the Clinton State Dept.'s collusion w/ the Russians w/ the Uranium 1 deal & the knowledge of such at the time by Brennan & his cohorts @ the NSA/ CIA; & the fact that they chose to do nothing about it; which shows their collusion w/ the Russians & the Hillary State Dept.; as accessories to the fact (direct/ indirect knowledge, guilt of association, hiding the evidence) at that present & future time etc. etc. etc...They're basically fucked if they really want to push this one...!

In reply to by Normalcy Bias